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|The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu||Sax Rohmer|
|Page 7 of 7||
"Some preparation of chloral hydrate," I pronounced.
"A sleeping draught?" suggested Smith eagerly.
"We might try," I said, and scribbled a formula upon a leaf of my notebook. I asked Weymouth to send the man who accompanied him to call up the nearest chemist and procure the antidote.
During the man's absence Smith stood contemplating the unconscious inventor, a peculiar expression upon his bronzed face.
"ANDAMAN--SECOND," he muttered. "Shall we find the key to the riddle here, I wonder?"
Inspector Weymouth, who had concluded, I think, that the mysterious telephone call was due to mental aberration on the part of Norris West, was gnawing at his mustache impatiently when his assistant returned. I administered the powerful restorative, and although, as later transpired, chloral was not responsible for West's condition, the antidote operated successfully.
Norris West struggled into a sitting position, and looked about him with haggard eyes.
"The Chinamen! The Chinamen!" he muttered.
He sprang to his feet, glaring wildly at Smith and me, reeled, and almost fell.
"It is all right," I said, supporting him. "I'm a doctor. You have been unwell."
"Have the police come?" he burst out. "The safe--try the safe!"
"It's all right," said Inspector Weymouth. "The safe is locked-- unless someone else knows the combination, there's nothing to worry about."
"No one else knows it," said West, and staggered unsteadily to the safe. Clearly his mind was in a dazed condition, but, setting his jaw with a curious expression of grim determination, he collected his thoughts and opened the safe.
He bent down, looking in.
In some way the knowledge came to me that the curtain was about to rise on a new and surprising act in the Fu-Manchu drama.
"God!" he whispered--we could scarcely hear him--"the plans are gone!"
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